jacktellslies: (geroges barbier mermaid)
[personal profile] jacktellslies
No one has ever been able to satisfactorily answer this for me, and it's a practical concern. Why do household spirits stop working for the people with whom they share a home when thanked or given gifts?

It's halibut season, which means that my fellow fishmongers and I can glut ourselves, indulging our longing to cut naught but immense fish. Yesterday my boss, faced with an unusually massive beast, actually dimmed the lights. "If I had to choose right now between sex, and cutting this fish," he admitted, "I'd take both." Fishmonger psychology, explained.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jezebellydancer.livejournal.com
About the household spirits. I never understood the Shoemaker and the Elves...

And yet, we're supposed to put out offering for the Wee folk by our back doors.

Perhaps they'd rather stay below the radar and not be thanked specifically? or did the humans get the story wrong. Maybe it's catching the faeries/elves/spirits at work that sends them away--not the thanking or the giving of gifts...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] earlofgrey.livejournal.com
I've heard it explained that once payment is received, they think of the deal as being completed. If they are never thanked or paid, they aren't yet done. That's fine, except for the fact that the humans for whom they are working seem to be unaware of any contract having been established. It's the combination of those two things that confuses me so.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jezebellydancer.livejournal.com
It is confusing to me as well, because it seems to promote ungratefulness, which doesn't make sense at all.

I'm planning a vision quest in the foreseeable future--I'll add this to my list of questions.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chronographia.livejournal.com
It depends - the lack of payment seems to be a primarily British isles thing. Lares, tomte, domovoi and kobolds must be coaxed, appeased and treated with respect. They are simply part of the home. (Heck, in Russia there is a seperate domovoi just for the banya!)

The sprites you're thinking of probably regard themselves as Other, occasionally meddling in the lives of humans. And it would be a one-time transaction, payment met, as you say.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 02:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] owlings.livejournal.com
I would like to thank you for asking this, because it made my dad read a whole discussion about household spirits off of answers.com for me. From his iPhone. It was pretty wonderful.

Apparently it was originally hempen clothing in particular that offended the spirit. However, I prefer the explanation given by William Mayne's delightful Hob books, which is that as soon as Hob puts on the clothing he begins to think himself a very fine fellow indeed, and goes out into the world until his boots are worn through and his socks in need of darning and his hat all misshapen and he can remember how to mend and sew and shape again.

Other gifts he simply politely refuses and apparently has no qualms about doing so.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 02:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] earlofgrey.livejournal.com
Lovely! Thank you. Did it say why hempen clothing was unacceptable?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] owlings.livejournal.com
Hemp was a looser and coarser weave than other clothing (especially if the spirit served a tailor) - apparently the spirit felt insulted by it. But that doesn't fit with the other theory in the least...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] liath-macha.livejournal.com
As one man said, 'I don't know why, but I'm not risking my clean socks to find out'. For some reason his wife did not agree.

The traditional reason is that they're shy.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 11:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diablaxmachina.livejournal.com
i think i would like to meet your boss.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-05 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] earlofgrey.livejournal.com
He's a former professional body builder! He looks like a circus strong man, if circus strong men were perpetually covered in fish scales.


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